Porirua Power Past Waitakere Rangers

Porirua Power Past Waitakere Rangers

The SAS National Basketball Championship for Men featured Waitakere Rangers and Porirua.

The Rangers boasted four former Tall Blacks, one of them Tohi Smith-Milner making the opening basket. Another, Hayden Allen, was forced to the bench in the opening couple of minutes with a leg injury. He was replaced by Carl Buck who immediately knocked down a triple.

Porirua, boosted by the inclusion of Jordan Ngatai back from the Breakers road trip to Invercargill, traded points with the hosts. The athletic Hyrum Hippolite edging Porirua ahead 18-17 at the end of the first quarter.

Allen returned for the second quarter and soon made a classy drive, adding the bonus free throw, to give Waitakere the lead 22-18. After a Porirua timeout Allen continued his good scoring form with a reverse layup and another and one play to stretch the lead to ten points. Porirua got their scoring moving again courtesy of a Casey Frank technical foul.

Smith-Milner cancelled out a Randall Bishop score. A Ray Cameron steal and breakaway lay up drew Porirua within two points before Smith-Milner further increased the Waitakere advantage. The half ended with an emphatic Ngatai dunk followed  at the other end of the court by a long two from Frank as the shot clock sounded.

Waitakere led a low scoring first half 35-30 – Smith Milner led all scorers with 13 points, Ngatai the best for Porirua with 10 points.

Hippolite made a steal immediately followed by a triple to tie the scores early in the second half. Dillon Boucher exited proceedings for a while after picking up his third foul.

Ray Cameron snaffled steals on consecutive defensive plays and his free throws at the offensive end edged Porirua ahead 39-38. Randall Bishop made a nice in and out move but a pair of free throws from Carl Buck and a triple from Daniel Green restored the Waitakere advantage.

A Hippolite break away basket prompted a Jeff Green timeout, his Rangers team 47-49 behind with a touch under three minutes remaining in the period. Casey Frank’s reverse lay up was countered by Jordan Ngatai but a Cameron triple brought a cheer from the crowd and extended the Porirua advantage to 56-49 with a quarter remaining.

Waitakere began the period with a 6-0 run before Randall Bishop scored a triple followed by free throws to keep Porirua ahead 61-57. Casey Frank was rested after picking up a fourth foul enabling Ngatai and Cameron to boss the boards and extend their lead to 65-57. Coach Green reinstated Frank almost immediately and he assisted Buck make back-to-back baskets  - 2:31 to play Porirua ahead 65-61 – timeout.

Ngatai extended the lead before a Frank hook shot brought it back to a four-point game. Inside the last 90 seconds Frank was sent to the floor scoring the resulting free throws – 67-65.

Hippolite scored, Cameron grabbed a steal, but a turnover gifted possession back to Waitakere with 35 seconds left allowing coach Green to rally his troops via a timeout. The drawn up play failed, Cameron grabbed another important rebound. Hippolite missed a pair of free throws to ice the game but a Waitakere turnover eased their worries. Hippolite made no mistake with his next visit to the charity stripe to close out a 71-67 victory.

Final score;

Porirua 71 – Ngatai 19p/14rebs, Hippolite 16p, Cameron 12p/9rebs, Bishop 11p

Waitakere 67 – Frank 18p/13r, Smith-Milner 18p/11r, Allen 13p

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